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This is book number 2 in the The Dark Apostle series.
E.C. Ambrose's gritty, sharp historical fantasy series, The Dark Apostle, follows Elisha Barber through a magical reimagining of 14th-century England
Elisha, a barber-surgeon from the poorest streets of benighted fourteenth-century London, has come a long way from home. He was always skilled at his work, but skill alone could not protect him on the day that disaster left his family ruined and Elisha himself accused of murder. With no other options, Elisha accepted a devil’s bargain from Lucius, a haughty physician, to avoid death by hanging—by serving under the sadistic doctor as a battle surgeon of the king’s army, at the front lines of an unjust war.
Elisha worked night and day, both tending to the wounded soldiers and protecting them from the physician’s experiments. Even so, he soon found that he had a talent for a surprising and deadly sort of magic, and was drawn into the clandestine world of sorcery by the enchanting young witch Brigit—who had baffling ties to his past, and ambitious plans for his future. Yet even Brigit did not understand the terrible power Elisha could wield, until the day he was forced to embrace it and end the war...by killing the king.
Now, Elisha has become a wanted man—not only by those who hate and fear him, but by those who’d seek to woo his support. Because, hidden behind the politics of court and castle, it is magic that offers power in its purest form. And the players in that deeper game are stranger and more terrifying than Elisha could ever have dreamed.
There are the magi, those who have grasped the secrets of affinity and knowledge to manipulate mind and matter, always working behind the scenes. There are the indivisi, thought mad by the rest of the magical world: those so devoted to their subject of study that they have become “indivisible” from it, and whose influence in their realm is wondrous beyond even the imaginations of “normal” magi. And then there are—there may be—the necromancers, whose methods, motives, and very existence remain mysterious. Where rumors of their passing go, death follows.
But death follows Elisha, too.
About the Author
E. C. Ambrose is a fantasy author, history buff, and accidental scholar. She lives with her family and a very friendly dog in New Hampshire. Author websites: ecambrose.com; twitter.com/ecambrose
Praise for The Dark Apostle series:
"Elisha Barber is an edgy, vivid story with engaging characters and a well-drawn setting that's almost, but not quite, our own history. I was drawn right in, quick as a slash of a barber's razor." —Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Clockwork Angels
"A vivid, violent, and marvelously detailed historical fantasy set in the perilous world that is medieval England in the middle of a war. Elisha Barber wades through blood and battle in his pursuit of arcane knowledge—forbidden love—and dangerous magic." —Sharon Shinn, author of Troubled Waters
"In a grim world of medieval warfare, witch-hunts and primitive surgery, E. C. Ambrose has crafted a shining tale of one man's humanity and courage. A gritty read for those who like realism as well as hope in their fantasy." —Glenda Larke, author of Stormlord’s Exile
"Elisha Barber is a stunning debut from a gifted storyteller. It didn't just keep me up all night, it transported me to a vivid, gritty 14th-century England, and left me feeling like I'd been touched by the wing of that dark angel. A magical first novel." —Steven H. Savile, author of Primeval: Shadow of the Jaguar
"Ambrose’s fantasy debut depicts a 14th-century England in which magic and fledgling science exist side by side. Elisha’s struggle to bring relief to those in need is complicated by his own need for redemption and his innate fear of what he cannot understand. This beautifully told, painfully elegant story should appeal to fans of L.E. Modesitt’s realistic fantasies as well as of the period fantasy of Guy Gavriel Kay." —Library Journal (starred review)